Editor’s note: Siobhán Campbell is the author of numerous pamphlets and collections of poetry, including “The Permanent Wave” (1996), “The Cold that Burns” (2000), “That Water Speaks in Tongues” (2008), “Darwin Among the Machines” (2009), and “Cross-Talk” (2009), which explores Ireland in the aftermath of its turbulent peace process. Originally from Ireland, Campbell has lectured in the Master of Arts and Master of Fine Arts programs at Kingston University in London, England.
In a hurl of rain
in a heedless fog
in winds that are indifferent
did you think of yourselves
out on the edge of Europe
as a trammeled people
or was the scored pill
of bread in the mouth enough;
comfort of tongued nights
the slant scald of climax –
and what you thought of
in counting the days to blight?
Don’t bring haw into the house at night
or in any month with a red fruit in season
or when starlings bank against the light,
don’t bring haw in. Don’t give me reason
to think you have hidden haw about you.
Tucked in secret, may its thorn thwart you.
Plucked in blossom, powdered by your thumb,
I will smell it for the hum of haw is long,
its hold is low and lilting. If you bring
haw in, I will know you want me gone
to the fairies and their jilting. I will know
you want me buried in the deep green field
where god knows what is rotting.
Giving the Talk
I know every stick and stone of this old road
every hollyhock and foxglove
where the flesh fly lays her eggs in devil spit;
which hedges harbour the blackthorn
and where to pick the best berries, high up
and low down. Like us all, round here,
I know which corner the articulated lorry
jackknifed, taking a shortcut off the main road,
scattering the limbs of the two Brady children
on either side. No-one put flowers
or one of those little crosses. Slowing down
on that bend, as everyone here knows,